I know this can be quite a controversial topic, but I figure I'd share for those interested.
There are many people that do this, but it's obviously something that depends on your locale. The idea isn't mine alone or even remotely new, but it's one that I don't see often come up in these circles.
This is the basics for my idea of a NST, not necessarily rules but basic guidelines that I'd like to follow.
This tank is using natural seawater taken from a clean water source. This tank is also utilizing live sand and local macroalgae and fauna when applicable.
I'm not a purist by any means, and I'm all for working with what you got, so to speak.
This is my first attempt at this type of tank, so I'll keep a log of progress and changes as they come.
I'd like to be able to maintain a minimalist setup consisting of a tank with a single powerhead for circulation and lights capable of sustaining macroalgae.
I will initially test this tank for ammonia and nitrates to gauge and estimate my maintenance workload, but after that I will not test it again unless I suspect an issue.
That means this tank setup will not be require (with any regularity) test kits, hydrometers, skimmers, and so on and so forth.
Estimated cost of this setup:
Used 29g tank with makeshift hood and CFL light conversion $20
Cheap penguin powerhead on clearance at petsmart: $15
Stand was free, it's just a tv stand that found a new job.
(optional) air driven hang on tank breeder box being used as a refugium and cheap air pump$15
So about $45 total with a refugium.
I intend to use a refugium in this tank because I plan to keep seahorses in it as the primary stock, once this happens the incompatible current inhabitants will be moved.
I also have plenty of tanks to do QT/hospital if needed and an array of meds to treat potential issues. I'm not going to factor this into the cost because it's a good idea to have, but not really mandatory.
I know at this point some people are scratching their heads or contemplating a witty response as to why this is a terrible idea, so lets go over the obvious (to me) cons of this setup.
Pathogens! Yes, the dreaded pathogen. I spend much of my time collecting freshwater natives so I'm well aware of this issue. I think that my experience in fw
collection is probably what makes me less jumpy about this potential, not because it's unimportant, but just because it's a danger I face regularly.
Pollution: A very real danger, and one that hits home to me personally because our area was affected by the deepwater horizon spill.
That said, my water changes will consist of water taken preferably from the gulf in clear water, although I may utilize the intercoastal waterway from time to time. I'm undecided on whether I will use the bay, it just depends on what the salinity hovers around. That means no collection during/after rain.
My intended goal here is to utilize a stable and clean source of water.
Hitchhikers: Pathogens could fall under this, but I'm mainly talking about the different predatory creepy crawlies that can overwhelm a tank if one isn't careful.
With those things in mind, there is a sizable risk involved in doing this, since that variable is ever present. But considering this I believe the benefit outweighs it.
The biggest pro to this is as follows:
No equipment to buy, no test kits or salt mixes. As you all know, these things add up and are a continuous and sizable expense.
This is my ideal outcome:
Set up a sw
tank and (hopefully) skip the cycle process by utilizing mediums with live bacteria populations. This will be accompanied by a healthy amount of macroalgae in the system as well as a very conservative stocking density.
Maintain a sw fowlr
with happy and healthy inhabitants by
regulating water quality through weekly large water changes.
The other side effect of this is the reintroduction of new flora/fauna including copepods/amphipods and the like and refreshing minerals and nutrients in the system.
Well, this is my plan, basically. Be sure to check your state regulations and requirements before attempting this.
Let me know what you think, and if there's other concerns that I've missed (I'm sure there are some).